Aussie Open Got Morphed

It occurred about a month ago. As I scrolled down my Instagram photo stream, I came across an old picture of myself photographed with all of my tennis friends. That was nothing unusual, considering friends reposted photos of past events all of the time.

However, this time, it was different. It wasn’t my friends who had reposted the image. I studied the photo intently for a few seconds, before it actually sank in.

Camp Counselors USA (CCUSA) had reposted the photo of my friends and I, and were using it for their advertising campaign. (Is that even legal? Should we be getting some sort of payment for this?)

And then, only two weeks ago, there we were again. Well, half of us at least.

The photograph was captured at the 2012 Australian Open. As eager tennis fans and players ourselves, we annually attended the event to cheer on our favourite sporting heroes.

The year before, sisters Jess and Caitlin Watson, and I, had made a small appearance in 
The Sydney Morning Herald. We were photographed in the crowd cheering on Australia’s Bernard Tomic.

But in 2012, we wanted to be noticed. After witnessing the eye catching and crazy outfits worn by other fans each year, it was finally our turn. We ditched the green and gold zinc and opted for something much more extreme.

Jess had the brilliant idea of morphsuits. We couldn’t stop laughing when we saw pictures of the costumes and wasted no time in buying ten of them. They were hilarious. But nobody could have predicted the amount of publicity we would later attract wearing them.

It was the morning of January 16th 2012. Day one of the Australian Open. After staying in the city the night before, the ten of us, nicknamed “The Morphs,” piled into an already crowded tram. The people on it laughed and pointed. Nearly every second person would ask us for a photo. We loved all of the attention we were attracting and we weren’t even at the tennis yet.

Finally, we arrived. We ran through the stunned onlookers and made our way to Margaret Court Arena. We wanted prime seats for Casey Dellacqua’s match. Some of the boys were stopped at the entrance and frisked by suspicious security. But nothing could ruin our excitement.

As we sat in our blue huddled group, preparing our chants, we were approached by both Channel Seven and Herald Sun cameramen. We posed for their photos and were later interviewed by each. We had another interview with a Japanese reporter who was covering the event, as well as many other camera crews who had approached us. We were not even sure what channel half of them were from.

Not an hour had passed before friends started ringing us excitedly, screaming they had seen us on TV. Herald Sun also updated their website. A stream of ‘Morph’ photographs had appeared.

We caused some controversy when we were chased by a number of angry security men around the Park. They begged us to reveal our faces. We were told that if we covered them again we would be kicked out. This caused debate between the security and the Herald Sun reporters, who desperately wanted us dressed up for their footage.

In Garden Square, more cameramen approached us, and this footage appeared during the 2012 and 2013 event coverage on Channel 7.

Morph Video

However, I was unable to find the full version. If anyone has stumbled across it for some unknown reason, (perhaps you were googling me), then please let me know. You can comment on this post, email me, or follow me on Twitter.

The next day we awoke to our faces on page 5 of the Herald Sun.

Our costumes had gone worldwide. This image of us was published on Britain’s national daily newspaper, The Guardian’s website.

We also appeared on a morphsuit website in Scotland, an Italian tennis forum, a German website ‘20 Minuten Online’, the Morphgang Facebook page, a Polish website and a Chinese website. Other Australian websites we appeared on were Alter Egos Australia, Squidoo,, Tennis Warehouse ultimate equipment blog and Twicsy.

Each consecutive day, as we arrived at the Australian Open, a different camera crew welcomed us. We also received free tickets each night from other friendly fans that were leaving.

Following the popularity and the excitement of the morphsuits at the 2012 Australian Open, we wore them again at the event earlier this year.  We continued to cheer loudly and made our presence known.

This photograph, posted by Morphsuit’s Facebook page, was reposted again during the men’s final. It attracted over 500 likes from people all over the world.

So, there you have it. If you want to appear on television, or be published in the Herald Sun, there is no need to work hard and worry about this journalism degree. Just dress ridiculously and the papers won’t be able to get enough of you.

Oh, but then once your fifteen minutes of fame are over, you should probably start studying again. Obviously I didn’t get my big break in the media industry, but, we still managed to cheer on many Australian tennis players to victory.

If you have any suggestions for other exciting costumes we can wear to the 2014 Australian Open, then please contact me.

The Australian Open Twitter handle are already asking how we will top these costumes in 2014.

There is no doubt, “The Morphs” will be hard to beat. We already have a few ideas, but with your help, we can make it to the front page of the Herald Sun next year.

Stay tuned.

Twitter List

According to Twitter, a list is “…a curated group of Twitter users. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others. Viewing a list timeline will show you a stream of Tweets from only the users on that list.”

Follow Me on Twitter Image via shawnzrossi Flickr account

Just over a month ago I had absolutely no idea what Twitter was, let alone this strange idea of a ‘list.’ Well, hang on; I wasn’t exactly living under a rock. I knew Twitter was some sort of social media site, but I had no idea how useful it actually could be. I thought people just ‘tweeted’ in 140 characters or less all about what they had for breakfast or how cold it was outside.

So naïve.

Don’t get me wrong, I have had my fair share of useless ‘good night Twitter’ tweets in the past month. However I have also discovered all of the positives as well as the endless possibilities of Twitter. Twitter gives each individual a voice. It gives you the power to spread news that may otherwise be considered insignificant in more professional news forums. Twitter gives you the opportunity to ‘follow’ and contact real life celebrities and sporting heroes. Yes, I know. How exciting. Real life famous people. You can’t do that on Facebook.

In accordance with this blog “Emerging Athletes, Emerging Fans,” I have compiled my own list of ‘must-followTwitter handles which I think you, as my reader should definitely pay some attention to. You can view it here.  Whether an athlete yourself or just a mad sports fan, these are the people that you will definitely want to keep an eye out for.

Currently I have a combination of young sporting stars, coaches and sporting venues on my list. In addition I have followed @morphsuits to keep up to date with the strange but eye-catching costumes worn by some fans to sporting events, as well as a few sporting organisations aimed specifically at younger athletes.

The aim of my list is to filter out those unnecessary ‘good night tweets’ and keep up to date with the results and successes of young sports stars. This can provide me with information and resources for future blog posts, as well as helping these talented athletes to be recognised. Through their tweets, I hope to gain insight into the dedicated lives they live. I also endeavour to become more familiar with the more ‘unknown’ athletes and track their performances.

A list of Twitter ‘must follows’ for emerging athletes and dedicated sport fans:

Firstly I followed an array of young sports stars…

1. Luke Saville (@LukeSaville18)- Luke is a 19 year old, Australian Junior Tennis Player. In 2011 he won the Boys Singles at the Wimbledon Championships and last year he won the Boys Singles at the Australian Open. He is formerly Number 1 in the Junior World Rankings. Luke is relatively new to Twitter but has tweeted about his matches, and also about his life in general and what he is up to.

2. Thanasi Kokkinakis (@TKokkinakis)- Kokkinakis made a name for himself when he replaced the injured John Isner and Tommy Haas during the Hopman Cup earlier this year. Only 16 years of age at the time, he played alongside Venus Williams and later took on former top 10 player Fernando Verdasco. Kokkinakis’ tweets include updates on his training as well as other sporting results he follows. Definitely one to keep an eye on.

3. Ash Barty (@ashbar96) Barty is 16 years old. She won Junior Wimbledon Championships in July 2011. Earlier this year Barty defeated former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone and partnered Casey Dellacqua in Women’s Doubles at the Australian Open. They made it to the Grand Final. Barty regularly tweets about her tennis results and her performances as well as her love for the Richmond Football Club.

4. Mitch Hallahan (@mjhallahan38)- Drafted by Hawthorn Football Club in 2010. Mitch wears the number 38. He tweets about the football and also his life.

5. Nathan Green (ng_green)- At 19 years of age, Green is the youngest player playing Victorian Premier Cricket 2 XI. He was also rookie of the year this season. Has not tweeted a great deal as of yet, but definitely one to look out for.

A coach provides an alternative perspective…

6. Roger Rasheed (@roger_rasheed) – Former coach of Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt and current coach of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Rasheed provides a different perspective on the sport. He also has a lot to do with the media, particularly during the Australian Open Coverage. His tweets include several sporting updates, helping you stay in the loop.

Thirdly sporting organisations full of emerging young talent…

7. Big V Basketball (@bigv_ball)- The largest senior basketball competition in Australia. Tweets regularly about everything and anything to do with basketball. Good to track emerging athletes.

8. Dandenong Stingrays (@DandyStingrays)-A leading Club within the AFL Victoria TAC Cup Under 18 Competition. Have nearly had 100 players drafted onto AFL lists since they started up. Tweets include footy results as well as future talent to watch out for.

9. AUSMSA (@AUSMSA)-The Australian Mogul Skiing Academy. Recent tweets include results from World Champs and the Nor-Am Tour.

10. SW Academy of Sport (@SWSport Academy)- As their bio states, they “work to improve sporting excellence in our region providing pathways for emerging juniors to compete at State & National level.” The most similar twitter handle to my blog.  Tweets include individual athlete and team results. Great way to find emerging talent.

11. Tennis Australia (@TennisAustralia)- The home of Australian Tennis. This organisation tweets everything and anything about tennis. A must follow to keep up to date.

And because everyone loves the MCG…

12. Melbourne Cricket Gd (@MCG)- Australia’s famous sport’s stadium, and the tenth largest in the world, provides updates on AFL matches throughout the season as well as keeping you in the loop about all things sport.

Great to keep up to date with the fans…

13. Morphsuits (@morphsuits)- After attracting lots of attention and publicity myself, wearing Morph suits to the 2012-2013 Australian Open, Morphsuits is fantastic to follow as they post updates and pictures of people in their suits. Particularly interested about tweets of sports fans at various events. Don’t have to be famous, just have to be brave.

The list is still growing.

Follow my list on Twitter here

And of course Follow me @alyssia099 and tweet me your ideas.

Did I miss someone? Then let me know. Open to comments and feedback regarding this list 🙂